CFA India Fintech Conference

CFA society organised second CFA India Fintech Conference in Bangaluru on March 8, 2019. Summary of key takeaways :

Session By Mr. Chris Skinner, Author of Digital Bank. Fintech a Global Perspective.

Contributed By – Sandeep Gupta, CIPM, CFA. Conference Co-chair

History of finance goes back 100’s of years with the Knights Templar and the creation of Switzerland as a country.  The rules and regulations created over centuries has led to the modern banking system. Technology cannot replace the rules and regulations that create the trust for cross border trade.

1st session

Chris feels that Banks will continue to be relevant and disagrees with Bill Gates Quote “We need banking, we do not need banks”. Banks may not be necessary for payments, loans, savings and credit. These are things that banks do. But the core of banking is creating a trusted store of value. Also acting as a trusted intermediary for exchange of that value with others that you do not trust. Crypto currencies is a wild west without regulations leading to frauds with no recourse. Regulations are required. Banks are not stupid. They are trying to innovate but it’s very hard.  However, we have to move from analog to digital. There is a great difference between digital and industrial banks. Digital banks are creating change and immense value without requiring as many  people.

Chris presented some interesting statistics on how Fintech and new age banks have caused a change for existing banks in number of employees and total Value. Those statistics seems to suggest that while No. of employees in traditional banks in 2018 vis a vis 2016 are on decreasing trend , this trend is on increasing side for Fintech and new age banks.

Stripe which is valued at $ 20 billion is basically 7 lines of code. It was setup only in 2011. In the same period, JP Morgan has also grown valuation phenomenally while reducing the number of people massively. J P Morgan is getting rid of stupid jobs. Anything that a machine can do is a stupid job.  Fintech communities connect and need not necessarily create.

Fintechs like Stripe makes certain processes at the traditional lenders non-competitive. Stripe is a B2B service which is invisible to customers. If you build an API, other people insert your code into their process and you get a share of the fees and can create immense value. The traditional business model of back office, middle office and front office at banks used to be integrated. Digital can pick-up one part of the process and do it better.

In the US P2P lending is regulated and is reducing the spread between borrowers and lenders. It has been reduced to 150 basis points vs. a difference of 400 basis points at traditional lenders. This makes traditional banks non-competitive. However the traditional bank back office has a wealth of data. But they cannot remain dumb with their data. JP Morgan software now does in seconds what took lawyers 360,000 hours of lawyers time. Every job that can be replaced with technology will be. People have to retrain and reskill. People will become trainers, explainers and sustainers of the technology.

Teams are growing smaller and example of Amazon was shared where they have a concept of a two pizza team. Any team that needs more than two pizzas for lunch is too big. Decisions are to be made faster. Banks are introducing digital when they need to make a cultural transformation and include it into their DNA. Legacy infrastructure and structures have to be regenerated. Technology is business and the business is technology. There can no longer be an IT Department. Data is not oil, a fossil fuel. It is like air which is all pervasive and essential.

Focus is to be on customers. Banks of the future will have different roles. A bank is an asset management company. Historically it was physical assets but in the future it will be digital. Facebook is also a digital vault. But how secure is it? Data is money and is valuable. It needs to be secured. Banks can play a key role in that area. Banks can be partners in life events of customers. Apps and API’s can play a major role in integration and can play a more holistic role. Banks can be a curator of multiple Fintechs.

 

Session By Mr. Kunal Shah, Founder Freecharge / Cred.The Evolving Payments Landscape

Contributed By – Sandeep Gupta, CIPM, CFA. Conference Co-chair

Kunal conducted a well-received session anecdotally without any slides. He highlighted that the lines of payments, banks, ecommerce, chat, smart phones, telecons, fintech are all blurring. He highlighted the power of increased distribution and creation of platforms.

2nd session

He gave an example of the English language which is the global platform of communication. India has benefitted from this platform. Platforms assimilate features. In the past the English did not have good numerical system and they used the inefficient Roman numerals. Trade was inefficient to conduct using roman numerals. The Indian / Arabic system was more efficient and replaced the roman numerals in the English Language. This is the core principle of how a product eats other products.

 

On disruption; he gave an example of Whatsapp payments. The consumers trust on Whatsapp is much more due to its ubiquity. So when Whatsapp launches payments as a feature, it can disrupt the entire landscape.  Whenever a large product which has a large distribution, decides to make a new feature; they wipe out an existing product. Example is digital cameras. A product “the cell phone” which was more distributed and in all our hands (most of the day) killed this product. A digital camera has now become an icon in our smart phones. In fact; most of the icons in our smart phones today are actually products that have been assimilated. Videos are now playing inside Whatsapp.

If potentially a telco which has 500 – 600 million customers decides to start lending; it can potentially disrupt banks. If a hardware company with 300 million devices decides to do investments and mutual funds; they have the distribution to disrupt traditional investment platforms. Some may argue that they do not have the capability. Capabilities can be bought. Distribution is critical. Today reaching 500 million customers is very easy. A telco can build this scale in 4-5 years. The world has become a efficient superconductor. Whenever a good joke is made; in less than 12 hours everyone knows it. Great ideas; jokes, bad news is spreading extremely fast. High distribution and trust can create new features into products very fast.

Malls today attract customers by organising events. Similar analogy was extended to temples of India in the past. The shops around the temple did well when the traffic to the temples increases. They used to compete with other temples. Similarly PayTM has a lot of Daily Average Users (DaU’s). They went into news as it attracts more people onto the platform. This creates scale and distribution reach. Tik-tok in China is loans company. Is it a social media company, fintech or a lending company.The lines are blurring.

On Crypto and money Kunal had the following views. Money is an imaginary concept and we have agreed to exchange goods and services based on this.  Demonetisation erodes the trust in the currency. Whenever a regime changes there is demonetisation. India has witnessed over 20 demonetisation events in its history. Currency is introduced through power. If the people don’t trust the regime, they will look at alternate methods of hoarding wealth. Gold creates interoperable trust acceptable by most. If the US government decides to launch its own crypto currency,people may shift to that because it is being endorsed by a powerful backer. Historically when a King adopted a religion; the people also adopted it.  Human behaviour moves from the rich, influential and powerful downwards to the poor. A brand like Kylie is transitioning from a personality to a brand which is trusted by people. Popular Instagram influencers are more effective than a TV Ad.

When there is lack of trust; it gets concentrated to a few trustworthy players who accumulate immense power. Countries with lower trust grow slower. Removing trust barriers is very important. Conglomerates exist in countries with low trust. A company like Tata can put its name across products and people will buy it. Similarly PayTm can now get into multiple businesses using the trust created and its distribution reach. Uber and Ola are not Taxi companies but Trust Companies. Air BnB is a trust company. Strangers can engage with each other without fear. A shoe brand also may not manufacture the shoe themselves; but the moment they put their brand on the product; customers can trust the quality.  Decentralisation is not needing a brand to create trust between two people. If humans can trust each other without requiring an intermediary, wealth will see a massive redistribution.

On the occasion of Women’s day Kunal mentioned that the participation of women in the workforce needs to be increased. Only 10 – 12 % of urban women are working. For a faster per capita growth of the country it is important to improve this metric.

On millennials, Kunal had an interesting insight. In every home there is a Chief Technology Officer who is between 14 – 18 years. That person is showing the rest of the family on how to use technology.The role of this 14 -18 year old is also shifting to that of the chief procurement officer. While the products are being designed for 40-year olds, the influencer is a 14 – 18 year old. Millennials are able to communicate effectively and this generation is disproportionately smarter than ones before.The delta is large because they were born with Internet. They have instant access to information from the internet. They prefer working for new age company and have a disdain for ‘Uncle’ companies.

The session was followed by a very interesting Q&A between Navneet Munot, CFA& Kunal Shah.

Some interesting snippets.

  • How many of us know what is our salary per hour. This is important to understand the value of time. If a company has an IT department, itcan never become a technology company.
  • Once you achieve distribution; companies can be created at will. Amazon was not a tech company. Because of their distribution reach; they were able to create AWS.
  • On innovation & regulations Kunal had an interesting retort. When the first knife was invented; it could have cut someone’s hand. However, it was not banned and we still use knives. Similarly, if Whatsapp has been used to spread fake news; it is not prudent to simply ban it.
  • MRP is bad for the country. Products should be charged more for the rich than what is charged for the poor. This is the ethos of capitalism. Anything else is socialism.
  • You cannot make money anymore from Payments. However, the distribution achieved through payments can be used for creating features that can make money.
  • All businesses are at risk due to cross sells.
  • Anyone who can predict the future more accurately will be able to make more wealth. Technology helps in this. No company is safe from disruption.

 

Session By Mr. Varun Dua, Acko. Insurance in the Digital Economy.

Contributed By – Sandeep Gupta, CIPM, CFA. Conference Co-chair

Key Issues Addressed were

  1. Overview of Indian Insurance Market
  2. What is digital Insurance & the role of technology
  3. How is Acko addressing the gaps in the market.

India is the 4th largest Auto Market in the world. India has only got 30 – 40 odd insurers which is very small compared to markets like China, USA etc who have many more (300 – 400). In India before privatisation there were only 4 PSU’s insurers. Hence the insurance industry in India is very young and has only developed over the last two decades. The penetration of Non-Life Insurance as % of GDP in India is very low (0.9%) currently. However the Market is growing rapidly at 22 % with the private sector outpacing the PSU’s many of whom are now ailing.

3rd session

The Role of Digital / Technology in Insurance can be segmented across 4 parts. Product, Price, Distribution and Claims. Initially in the first phase, digital has worked to put the existing products online. This was done by the likes of Policy Bazaar, cover fox etc.. In the future, the entire value chain is expected to move online. This will happen when data and analytics comes online. It can change the dynamics across all aspects of Product, Price, Distribution and Claims. The amount of data and intelligence that is available creates new products and the possibility of better pricing. The very nature of the product will change as digital can bridge the distance between the insurers and the insured.

The main costs of any insurance company are distribution, opex and claims. The distribution costs of 8 – 10 % cost in the traditional system can be brought down significantly through technology.  The same efficiency can be brought into opex. With regards to claims, the customer credibility can be established to put customers into green channels where claims can be settled more efficiently which has been a bane for traditional insurers.

The three challenges for insurance was Non availability of data leading to blanket underwriting, High Distribution Cost due to all new insurers chasing the same distributors and Investment float incomes (more of an AUM business) vs. an insurance play.

Acko is tackling these challenges by alternative distribution challenges. Better underwriting through better data and analysis. The key is to identify better customers. Acko is focussed on the insurance business and on how to acquire good customers. There are now 100 million insurance customers online in India. Acko have sold low value products of Rs 1 or 2 to over 18 million customers. Acko covers customers of Ola and they compensate passengers for things like missed flights etc. Acko captures detailed information like flight times, cab arrival timing etc. which powers their claims processing.  Another focus is Online Auto Insurance which currently is only 6 % of total market. This is expected to grow to 15 – 20 % in the next few years.

Availability of data through multiple sources of information like Amazon, Ola etc. can help price products better in future. As an example; if a customer is using Ola & Uber more than 25 times a month, he deserves a better insurance premium on his car which is not being used much. Trustworthy customers should get their claims processed immediately. In the US; facial recognition that can detect truth vs lie’s is being used to process claims instantaneously.

The world of insurance is evolving rapidly and the existing players may soon face a Blackberry Moment.

 

 

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Session by Mr. Kuntal Shah- Master’s at work (MAW) event, Kolkata-2019

Contributed by Soham Das, CFA

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On 29th of June 2019, Kuntal Shah, founder of Pune based Oaklane Capital Management spoke on “Investing Frameworks and Learning from the Markets”. His talk covered over 300 years of financial market history and was filled with specific anecdotes of the major financial market crashes of history.

Spanning over 35 odd minutes, Mr. Shah walked the audience through bubbles and crashes, highlighting the extent to which investing public can and do go manic. His talk started with a declaration that “investing is the last liberal art” and pressed how investors should try to establish a mental latticework to figure out unfolding developments. He repeated, that navigating financial markets requires a composite knowledge of multiple knowledge domains, specifically an understanding of business cycle, economic cycle, investor psychology cycle, interest rates and fiscal cycle.

The first part of his talk focused on the investor psychology cycle. He remarked that there is a general tendency of fund managers to fail agreeably and “amicably”. In other words, failing by conforming is more accepted than staying out of the herd. Mr. Shah, credited, Ralph Wagner’s book, “A Zebra in the Lion Country” to highlight the difference between “eat-well” zone and “sleep well” zone. While, when fund managers herd, they sleep well, knowing that collective failure is acceptable, but content in settling for average returns. On the other hand, he quipped that, those fund managers who break out of the mould earn handsome returns.

Kuntal Shah, thrusted his point further when he focused exclusively on the idea that bubbles have to be navigated successfully to avoid the ensuing wealth destruction. Thus he pivoted completely towards analysis of financial bubbles.

He begun with the Tulip Mania of 1637, where the price of a gouda tulip soared 60x in 3 years. He pulled up a data table on the screen in front, which highlighted the extraordinary rise and price of a tulip bulb. At its peak, a bulb of tulip could have been exchanged vis a vis a fairly rich and big basket of essential commodities.

He talked through the bubbles and crashes of the next 200 years, and narrated out how seemingly geniuses like Isaac Newton, Charles Mackay etc. fell for them. Mississippi Bubble, South Sea Bubble, Railway Boom all were visited briefly, till he reached the episode of Great Depression.

He narrated how the errors in policy increased the pains of depression and lengthened the depression. Bringing out the folly of a trade war, he quoted history to remind audience of a particular tariff act called Smoot-Hawley Act, which deepened the crisis and delayed recovery from the Great Depression of 1929.

The mania of 1970’s US market, Japan Asset Bubble, Russian Crisis were showcased and interesting facts about each of those crises were narrated. To buttress his message, that valuations can soar extraordinarily high, he mentioned that during Japan’s real estate bubble, area around the Royal Palace was valued higher than the entire state of California.

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Mr. Shah spent some time on the debacle of Long Term Capital Management (LTCM), Myron-Scholes team in LTCM and how their world-view differed, quite radically from that of Robert J. Shiller. He argued that the extent of volatility and frequency of extreme events in financial markets proved that Efficient Market Hypothesis doesn’t quite work as well as expected. When the turn for 2008 and the Global Financial Crisis came, he dwelled less on the study of the crash but more on the lessons he derived from them. His biggest lesson, he admitted was realizing how risk travels across the asset classes.

Profitless IPOs, peaking conspicuous consumption, rising frauds- all were signs as per him of an impending asset bubble. Veering towards investor psychology once again, he talked about the most dangerous 4 worded statement in investing – “this time is different”. This he mentioned is a general feeling often characterized by 3 composite world views: a, financial crisis is something that happens in other countries to other people, b, an overly and often unfounded faith in our own abilities to prevent a crisis and finally, a renewed confidence in our ability to predict one, long before it actually happens.

Mr. Shah’s slides intermittently recommended quite a few books, noteworthy among which were the following – “This Time is Different” by Kenneth and Rogoff and “Why it’s different this time”, by Robert Zuccaro, CFA. Both the books stand at the opposite end of their world view.

All the while, Mr. Shah reminded that, the hardest bubble to spot might be the one, that an investor finds himself in. He commented that expansion of a particular sector within an asset class can be a good sign of an impending bubble. Additionally, he considered the length of the tallest skyscrapers, magazine covers as “contra” indicators and symptomatic of an easy liquidity and an impending asset bubble.  Signs of extreme behaviors at inflexion points were discussed at length by Mr. Shah. He listed out a pack of 13 signs that together can help to understand if, a market is showing signs of “topping” or “bottoming out”. A few of the ominous signs, as per him are, increasingly large number of IPOs, rapidly rising prices, excessive leverage, free availability of credit, unchecked optimism in popular media, historically high valuations and very high trading volumes, booming conspicuous consumption etc.

Conversely as per him, a few of the optimistic signs preceding a turnaround in the economy are,a complete absence of any activity in IPO market, M&A or VC arena, low valuations, official declaration of recessions, the fall of previously favorite sectors, low cost of credit etc.

Quickly spanning across Soros’s theory of reflexivity, Minsky model and 5 lens framework of Vikram Mansharamani, Kuntal Shah quickly landed on the topic of the current day. He highlighted that the elevated debt levels and rock bottom interest rates as the sources of risk in today’s world. Mr. Shah drew the attention of the audience towards a surprising fact – in 2018, 84% of all IPOs were of profitless companies.

He further plied on with his view that not everything is hunky dory by a slide which had “Easy Money and Congenial Interest Rates are necessary conditions for bubbles”, written boldly across the top. The slide showcased 4 panels of separate charts, that showed how valuations can rise extraordinarily and sharply during financial bubbles.

Wrapping up the presentation, Mr. Shah noted the following:

  1. Gold Standard, its absence or return is not the solution. Bubbles existed before its demise, bubbles will exist after it as well.
  2. Bubbles are decreasing in duration but increasing in frequency
  3. Inflation can rise quickly
  4. Fed Tightening event usually ends up with a financial event

In a moderated session with Raunak Onkar, the research head of Parag Parikh Financial Advisory Services, Kuntal Shah was asked by Onkar, how does he read the current market temperature as. Mr. Shah replied, that he sees signs of rising conspicuous consumption. He remarked, while unicorns are supposed to be rare, today they are a dime a dozen. He concluded his reply by adding, he does foresee the market becoming warm and frothy, and at the verge of a crisis.

Onkar, veered towards more specific ideas, when he asked Mr. Shah about his views of capital allocation skills of Indian promoters. Mr. Shah, declined to take names who are doing a good job, adding that he would rather not perform a hero worship as no one is infallible. However, he also added that majority of Indian CEOs are poor capital allocators.

In conclusion, Mr. Shah’s presentation talked in detail about the anatomy of bubbles, the mass psychology around them and the idea that human behavior is fallible. The three key takeaways from his talk was, while the general temperature of the market is rising, it is hard to say when the bubble will burst. Secondly, there are a handful of investors in Indian context who are doing capital allocation properly and finally, with investing being the last liberal art, it is important for us to have a sense of history to navigate the future.

Link to the full presentation – https://www.cfasociety.org/india/Presentations/History%20of%20Capital%20Markets-MAW%2029th%20June-Kuntal%20Shah.pdf

 

 

 

 

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Session by Raamdeo Agrawal- Masters at work (MAW) event, Kolkata-2019

Contributed By : Sidhant Daga

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The first speaker to impart knowledge and wisdom to the audience was none other than Mr. Raamdeo Agrawal- Joint MD and Executive Director, MOSL. Mr. Agrawal took us through his life journey, showcasing how he started with a very humble background and now how he has built such a big empire. It was quite motivational for the crowd to listen to his “Buy Right, Sit Tight” philosophy which has helped him to garner enormous amount of wealth overtime. Mr. Agrawal’s presentation revolved around few themes supplemented by his experience on the same.

The major themes were:

Power of CompoundingThe speaker explained how compounding can work wonders in prolonged periods of time. He gave the example of how Warren Buffett is the living example of how if wealth is compounded slowly and steadily, one can become immensely rich. Mr. Agrawal exclaimed that making money in the share market is a slow process. The fact that there is a dearth of young billionaires is because investing in stock market is not a ‘get quick rich scheme’ and wealth will accumulate over a long period of time. Even Warren buffet who started investing at a young age of 11 years could become a billionaire at the age of 60 only. He jokingly said that one can only become a billionaire in the stock markets by the age of 30, if one starts with a capital of 5 billion.

Positive AttitudeThe speaker stressed on how investor’s attitude plays an important role in the investment field. He said that knowing how to be happy is very important. He gave an example of his wealth journey to show how he kept an optimistic view during the tough times.

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Never Speculate Mr. Agrawal spoke in detail about his humble beginnings. He told how earlier, when he started MOSL, he used to buy thin registers rather than fat ones, just to save on cost. Mr. Agrawal said that as he had only a small amount to invest, he would never speculate. He would spend hours reading photocopied annual reports to find out the right investment bet. He requested everyone in the audience to never speculate.

Importance of Patience Mr. Agrawal spoke on how patience is important. He used George F. Bakers quote in the Thomas Phelps book “100 to 1 in the stock market”: To make money in stocks you must have the “the vision to see them, the courage to buy them and the patience to hold them”. and patience is the rarest of the three. Mr. Agrawal told that success is a very rare phenomenon, so once a person has identified a successful company with good fundamentals and good management, one must stay invested and not keep shifting their portfolios to newer companies.

Management QualityThe speaker emphasized the importance of management quality. He said an investment’s success = Quality of Management * Quality of Business. So, even if one aspect is zero, the investment will fail.

Mr. Ramdeo said that the management can be judged by 3 parameters- integrity, demonstrable competence and growth mindset.

Portfolio construction and position sizingMr Agrawal took the audience through his journey of holding 200+ stocks at a time and how now he never holds more than 20 stocks at a time.

He advised the audience to buy only companies which they understand, because conviction and large stakes can only be built in companies which one understand.

On position sizing, Mr. Agrawal spoke of his concept of T+1, T+2, that he buys and adds positions in a stock only when the company achieves the desired success. 

Other takeaways from Mr. Ramdeo Agrawal’s speech were:

  • Mr. Agrawal spoke on the changing dynamics of the market and how this time the markets are “very new” in nature as index is near all time highs and the broad markets are not indicative of the same.
  • Mr. Agrawal explained how one must not live in anxiety and should follow the “buy right, sit tight “philosophy. He said that people who look at their portfolios less often tend to gain more than those who keep checking their portfolios very frequently.
  • The speaker explained as to how he earned from value migration stories and how he keeps trying to identify value migration stories to identify investment bets. He gave example of Infosys – the Boston to Bangalore value migration and HDFC Bank- The public bank to private bank value migration.
  • Mr. Ramdeo sees huge opportunity in insurance and banking companies in the future.

After the presentation, a panel discussion was held which was moderated by Mr. Sunil Singhania, Founder – Abakkus Asset Manager LLP. Here are the key takeaways from the same :

SS- How should one survive in such noisy markets?

RA-Technically speaking, we can’t complain as index is near all time highs, we need to be patient. Good opportunities only come in bad market conditions. We will play every ball even if wicket is good or bad.

SS- How to spot good management and good business when the company is small?

RA- One must know exactly what one is looking for, conviction is also necessary.

SS- What is important good stocks or good companies?

RA- Bad companies never make good stocks. It is necessary to buy good companies at reasonable prices. As per a study if one buys companies with a peg ratio of more than 3, the returns are sub par.

SS- What are the mistakes you have made in your investment journey?

RA- One of the biggest mistakes were made in identifying the integrity of the management ( Manpasand and companies in financial technologies). As soon as one understands he has made an error, one must run away from the stock.

SS-What’s your take on disruptions?

RA-I believe that disruptions are overhyped. Is there a digital way to get drunk? I’m continuously looking for value migration stories. EV can be a space to look out for.

SS- Any book recommendations?

RA-Buffett letters, Snowball, Michael Porter’s Competitive Strategy , Value Migration, Art of execution

Link to the presentation- https://www.cfasociety.org/india/Presentations/Limited%20downside%20Unlimited%20upside%20-MAW%2029th%20June-%20Raamdeo%20Agrawal.pdf

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Book Review – “An Economist walks into a Brothel ” by Allison Schrager

Contributed By : Jitendra Chawla, CFA

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What is common between investing in early-stage start-ups, producing Hollywood movies and breeding horses on a stud farm? All have long tails (no pun intended) i.e. range of outcomes that have a skewed distribution – with a high probability of outcomes which lead to losses and a ‘long tail’ of successful but unlikely or low probability scenarios. You’ll learn this and lots of other interesting ways to understand risk in this very interesting new book – “An Economist walk to a Brothel”

Allison Schrager’s book takes a unique and fresh approach to explain concepts associated with risk, how people from all walks of life (not just investors) understand and deal with it, and what lessons one can take from these risk warriors.

Her writing is easy to read and devoid of all the jargon. Even those who have little or no background in economics will understand and immediately relate to their personal circumstances.

The most interesting thing about the book is the unusual settings Allison has picked. Allison interviewed sex workers and brothel owners to understand how they deal with risk in their business and price it. She studied the life and career of Kat Cole – who was once a waitress at Hooters and is now the COO of Focus Brands – parent of the American chain of baked goods stores and kiosks – Cinnabon. Allison says “Cole learned about managing risk by making unconventional choices early in life”. And then goes on to explain her life choices so far.

She explains how the movie-making business is inherently fraught with risk and returns that do not follow a normal distribution. In her words, “A movie is like an airport trip that will take anywhere between ten minutes and two hours.

Allison explains the difference between idiosyncratic risk and systematic risk by giving life story of a New York-based paparazzo – Santiago Baez. She likens his strategy to manage the risk he must confront to earn his livelihood to “low-tech version of what finance mavens employ”.

The real-life stories are riveting and make it easier for the reader to understand the message and apply the lessons easily in their own circumstances.

In the book, Allison walks the reader through “five rules for better assessing and employing risk in your life”. Each of these rules “describes a different risk concept “from financial economics, illustrated through people and places testing its limits, and then shows you how to apply this concept in your everyday life”.

These five rules are :

  1. No risk, no reward – explains how to assess what you want, how much risk you need to take to achieve it, and different types of risk
  2. I am irrational, and I know it – How it is difficult for us to think in probabilities because of our inherent biases and why we tend to underestimate the risks involved in our decisions.
  3. Get the biggest bang for your risk buck – Why and how we should assess the risk involved in comparison to expected rewards and how we should choose the option that leads to achieving our objective by taking minimal risk
  4. Be the master of your domain – How to improve our odds by eliminating unnecessary risk and even further reducing the risk by using tools of hedging and insurance
  5. Uncertainty happens – Difference between risk and uncertainty and how to protect oneself from uncertainty.

Allison Schrager pursued her Ph.D. in Economics as she had been drawn to the subject. But she struggled a lot early on, which made her even more determined to work hard. She chose economic of retirement as her research topic as she thought it was “the purest and most beautiful of all economic problems”.

She says the default “risk-free” option for her like most Ph.D. candidates was a job in academia. But when she started sitting for job interviews, she realized that – that was not what she wanted to do. She wanted to “avoid math, have fun and spend time with people”. So she chose journalism and started working for the Economist for no money. After that, she went on to work with Robert C. Merton – the Nobel prize-winning economist and together they worked on developing strategies to help people invest for retirement.

Taking her own career choices as an example, Allison explains how people make mistakes in calculating risk, in understanding what they want and then taking on less or more risk than they should have. “When we chase the wrong goal and take a risk, odds are it won’t go well”.

While they were working on the retirement problem together, Merton reframed the retirement problem for her – “by spelling out what risk-free means in retirement and from there how to manage risk.” “This strategy changed how I saw everything”, says Allison.

I think this book has been able to achieve its objective – that of making it easier for the reader to understand and analyze the risks – in choices they confront and decisions they make. That too while avoiding math, having fun and using real stories of real people. Personally, for me, the book provides an easier framework to understand risk, weigh my options and make an informed decision in a wide range of situations – career choices, saving for retirement, buying a house, moving cities, allocating investments and many more.

The book is not just suitable for novices – who don’t know much about the subject and may start looking the world through a different lens after reading it – but also experts, who understand the concept of risk very well, as they get to understand it from a new, easier and fresh perspective.

You can buy the book online at – https://www.amazon.in/Economist-Walks-into-Brothel/dp/0593086724/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=book+-+An+Economist+walks+into+a+Brothel&qid=1562232907&s=gateway&sr=8-1

 

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Volunteering Workshop-Delhi

IMG-20190618-WA0014Contributed By: Parvez Abbas, CFA

The Delhi Chapter of CFA Society India organized the Volunteer Orientation Workshop at IBIS hotel, Delhi on 9th June 2019. The event kick-started with a welcome note from Ms. Shivani Chopra, CFA -an active volunteer from Delhi- who shared her volunteering experience. She informed the audience about the numerous events conducted by the Delhi Chapter in the last two years. Mr. Gaurang Trivedi, CEO of CFA Society India took the first session. He talked about the role of volunteers in CFA Society. CFA Society thrives on the contribution and untiring energy of its volunteers globally. They are at the helm of all activities and events. He broadly talked about four pillars of volunteering:

  • Know Yourself – What you are good at and what do you want to improve in yourself?
  • Passion – zeal to work selflessly
  • Time commitment – volunteers need to devote time
  • Building Network

Ms. Arati Porwal, Director, Society Relations, India enlightened the audience about how one can become a volunteer. She explained how one can take benefits of affiliate membership without being a regular member. She narrated anecdotes and experiences of various volunteers. She emphasized on the importance of keeping volunteer profile updated on the CFA Institute website. It was followed by address from Ms. Mansi Panchal, Consultant, who explained the structure of the CFA Society and its various committees. Currently, there are 152 CFA Societies across the globe and volunteers play a key role in their functioning. She advised how one can be a part of the five committees based on ones area of interest.

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The last session of the day was taken by Mr. Jitendra Chawla, CFA and Director of CFA Society India who has been an active volunteer from Delhi for many years. He recounted his volunteer journey and apprised the audience of his learning in all these years. He further explained how volunteering helped him in honing his organizational skills, team management skills and in making lots of friends. He said that unlike the demanding jobs where performance is evaluated on a number of parameters, a volunteer is not judged on his work. Rather volunteering gives an opportunity to contribute to the CFA Society and provides benefits like recognition, sense of achievement, developing leadership, communication and other skills and building connections.

Many people attended the event beating the blistering Delhi heat. They asked a lot of questions which were patiently answered by all the speakers. Thereafter, many signed up for the volunteering opportunities and would be assigned mentors to guide them.

-PA

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Session on “Economics Beyond Headlines” by Vivek Kaul

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Speaker- Vivek Kaul, Author, Easy Money

Contributed By: Vikram Jhawar, CFA

The Pune Chapter of CFA Society India organised a speaker event titled,”Economics beyond headlines” by Mr. Vivek Kaul, author of the book-Easy Money on 31st May 2019.

The speaker started his talk with the indirect effects of economic policy changes with a famous quote –

“The glazier comes, performs his task, receives his six francs, rubs his hands, and, in his heart, blesses the careless child. All this is that which is seen.”

-Bastiat in Essays on Political Economy

The indirect effects of macro-economic policy changes are not always obvious. At times, a well-intentioned policy can be toxic in the long run. The final costs of such policies are often passed on to the consumers.

As an example, the speaker cited a case from February 2016, when the Directorate General of Foreign Trade imposed a minimum import price on 173 steel products to encourage steel consumers to buy Indian steel. The direct effect of this policy was to the benefit of local steel producers and the banks financing these producers. However, as steel is an input to a wide range of industries, the indirect effect of this policy was increased prices of the products of those industries being passed on to the consumers.

The speaker next spoke about GDP being a measure of economic size of a country and the multiplier effect of money contributing to economic activity. The question that followed was-

How do we measure economic activity?

  • Housing Sales: Buying a house is arguably one of the biggest expenditure in an individual’s life. Housing sector has around 250 backward and forward linkages – Cement and other raw materials, labor, steel, sanitary and electrical hardware to name a few.
  • Domestic Car/2-Wheeler Sales: This comes next to housing in terms of expenditure and has a range of input factors.
  • Domestic Tractor Sales: This is particularly important in rural areas. It signifies the growth in agricultural sector.
  • Non-Discretionary Spending: Food, Clothing, FMCG products, Electricity etc. are basic needs and contribute a significant amount to total spending.

Next, the speaker talked about common ways adopted by governments and central banks to overcome a slowdown in GDP growth or even a recession.

How to overcome a slowdown?

  • Fiscal Expansion: Government increases its spending, lowers direct and indirect taxes to aid the growth in economy. However, as governments around the world have unlimited power to print their currencies, it could lead to overspending and prove detrimental in the long run as government debts pile up.
  • Monetary expansion: Central banks can reduce interest rates thereby making loans cheaper and encouraging business & personal spending.

The speaker pointed out a problem with Expansionary Fiscal Policy. As government spends more, it needs to borrow more. As it borrows more, less money is available to loan to businesses and individuals thereby shooting up the interest rates. This means that it might be difficult to carry out an expansionary fiscal policy and a loose monetary policy at the same time.

The speaker concluded with an interesting observation on why inflation in India in recent quarters, although reported low as per CPI (Consumer Price Index), doesn’t feel like one. The reason for this is the fall in food inflation. Food & Beverages weigh over 40% in CPI basket, which might not be indicative of actual expense on food for most population, especially in urban areas. Given that food inflation has averaged less than 5% in recent times, the overall inflation is skewed downwards.

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2nd Financial Talent Summit (#FTS2) – CFA Society India: Highlights and Learnings

Contributed By : Udai Cheema

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Eric Sim in conversation with Jitendra Chawla at FTS2

Recently I attended the 2nd Financial Talent Summit organised by CFA Society India on 27th April 2019 at The Leela Palace, New Delhi. Through their high-quality content, these events have been able to build a fine reputation amongst the participants which was evident from the full house at the venue. What was special about this particular event was its unique theme and the ‘pain point’ it addressed by providing guidance to the young professionals trying to build a career in the world of finance.

Here are some of the highlights and learnings from the various speakers at this knowledge cum networking fest;
Topic 1 – Conference opening and welcome

Anil Ghelani – Vice President CFA Society India  & Senior Vice President, DSP Investment Managers
  • CFA Institute provides a platform where the investment professionals can engage and continue to share even after they have progressed to doing bigger things in their respective careers after attaining CFA Charter. It’s like an alumni platform where candidates can come back from time to time in order to connect with their alma mater and also give back to the society by way of providing guidance to the younger members.
  • The CFA Institute members come from various facets of the finance world with years of experience adding value to the community. CFA Society India is a platform run by volunteers which in itself is an amazing feat as the society has been doing so much in terms of events, awareness and so on. He urged more members to volunteer in order to take this endeavour forward.
  • Anil stressed the importance of enrolling on the career portal of CFA Society India. Updation of their CV on the career portal could potentially open a wide range of opportunities for the candidates and the charter holders as they will get exposure to a large number of employers from the finance industry already present at the portal. It provides tremendous networking power to the candidates as well as the employers. Job alerts feature at the career portal helps you get real-time updates if anything has opened up which matches your desired criteria for a job profile.
  • Even candidates can become members of the CFA Society India, it’s not mandatory to have a CFA Charter to become a member. You simply need to register as a member at the CFA Society India website and pay the annual membership fee. Members have the privilege to attend most of the events organised by CFA Society India for free and they can get access to all the digital content created by the CFA Institute such as the career portal etc. Candidate members are not permitted to write CFA in their title and they cannot vote, rest all facilities are equally accessible to all the members regardless of the type of membership.

 

Vidhu Shekhar – Country Head, India, CFA Institute
  • Vidhu urged the candidates to utilise all the free resources that the CFA Institute has made available for the candidates and also use this platform to network, find guides/mentors to help them on their journey as finance professionals.
  • Introduced the term ‘intentional career management’ which simply emphasises that one needs to actively manage one’s career and look for the right opportunities to make it a success. This one quote from him was instrumental in driving his message home;

When you are ready, you will find teachers all around you!

Topic 2 – CFA Institute career services and tools
Arati Porwal – Director, Society Relations, CFA Institute
Sachin Naik – Manager, Institutional Partnerships, CFA Institute
  • Ingredients for a successful career: Mastery of technical skillsMastery of soft skills & Intentional career management.
  • Technical skills: what the CFA curriculum teaches i.e gathering, understanding and analysing data.
  • Soft Skills: technical skills might get redundant over time or fall prey to automation. It is the soft skills that can be the differentiator in that case. These include communication skills, leadership skills, networking skills and so on.
  • Intentional Career Management: this entails acquiring the skills, experiences which will get you closer to your goals. These decisions cant be left to destiny, they must be intentional.
  • Live learning tools: Monthly webinars, Live events like FTS2, workshops, masterclasses and conferences. Attending live events such as this one is the best way to network with the community and expand your horizon.
  • Online learning tools: Career tools, videos & podcasts, curriculum/refresher reading and articles, advocacy and thought leadership, India career guide and career centre.
  • India career guide and career centre are the specific tools which can help bridge the gap and create awareness about what’s out there and what skill needs to be acquired to achieve the desired positions/roles in your respective field of specialisation.
  • The career guide is a compilation of the journey of some of the eminent charterholders in their respective areas of expertise. 12-13 verticals are covered under this year’s career guide with a goal that it will act as a roadmap for the candidates while navigating their careers.
  • These career success tools help in three ways: they help choose a direction, help customize your resume which aligns with the direction that you wish to take and help receive personalised coaching as a number of global & local coaches are being added to this platform to help out the young talent.
  • CFA Asia Pacific Research Exchange: It is a global platform where you can find research reports and can publish your own reports. Various industry organisations, educational institutes and CFA charterholders are already using this website actively for research purposes.
  • Career webinars organised by CFA Institute can be of great help to young professionals stepping into the world of finance. Also, every fortnight on Thursday 5:30 – 6:30 pm ist, there is a practitioner insights webinar that is conducted regularly.
  • Click [Here] to watch an insightful video on career services and tools by the speakers, uploaded on the CFA Society India youtube channel.
  • Some other useful links are [link 1],[link 2],[link3].

Topic 3 – Building your online presence and brand 

Eric Sim, CFA – Founder, Institute of life
  • Deepak Mundra, who was anchoring the event, posted a great question to the audience before Eric took the stage. The question was;

Is social media a product for us or are we the product for social media?

  •  Eric shared his unique and inspiring journey that took him from being a hawker on the streets to an investment banker, a teacher, an entrepreneur and a social media sensation that he is today. This session was focused on how we can maximise the power of social media especially LinkedIn to our advantage rather than the other way around.
  • Shivani Chopra, CFA has already written a succinct summary of Eric’s session at the CFA Society India’s blog. So, I would recommend you to read the article as it captures the important points from Eric’s talk quite nicely. Click [Here] to read.
  • From my personal interactions with Eric at the event, I could gather that the key to him being able to successfully juggle so many things at the same time (investment banking, teaching, business & social media presence) is his ‘extreme focus on time management’ by eliminating needless small decisions that are to be made during the day which can easily by automated instead. Much like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, Eric wears only white shirts. He wears shoes without laces, has multiple pieces of same coloured/designed suits, wears no tie, buys his quota of daily non-perishable supplies once for the whole year, at all times he has his travel gear packed and ready to go, stays at the same hotel at each destination in order to reduce the time wasted on choosing an accommodation. He keeps no meetings before 2:30 pm as he believes that the morning hours are for himself and for doing creative work. He schedules everything on his calendar and then makes sure that he sticks to it. He likes to bunch his meetings which increases productivity. In a nutshell, it is this intentional effort and mindfulness that sets Eric apart in terms of productivity and gaining the most out of his day. As I see it, its a snowball effect as one life hack leads to another then another allowing the column of achievements to keep on growing.

Think big, Start small, Act now – Eric Sim

 

Topic 4 – Building a successful career in financial services

Radhika Gupta – CEO, Edelweiss Asset Management
  • The best lessons that she learnt as a professional have not been from the finance world but from her travels and that was the theme of her talk.
  • Her father was into Indian Foreign Services(IFS) which meant that he was posted for three years in a country in the better part of the world and the subsequent three years had to be served in a not so privileged nation, he was aware of this fact when he signed up for the service. Radhika used this analogy and extrapolated it to the markets, if you have decided to invest in equities, that means you have signed up for bull and bear market both as they are inseparable then why fret over the markets going down as they will eventually go up.
  • Italians love their coffee and till today they don’t have a single Starbucks or a Pizzahut in Italy. Italians are quite laid back as a country but the important thing is that they know themselves and what they want very well. This is precisely the reason why none of these big pizza & coffee MNCs have been able to set up shop in Italy as Italians like to have their pizzas and coffee in their own traditional ethnic way. The lesson to be learnt here is that in your profession, there is something that you extremely good at, you need to identify and run with it. Cherish your uniqueness and make it your strength. First, you need to recognise those one or two things that you are exceptional at and then the world will too in due course. Women inherently bring a unique skill set to the financial industry. They need to realise this and go from strength to strength.
  • Nigeria exports oil to the world but there is perpetually a shortage of oil for it’s own citizens who need to stand in lines for hours to get some if they are lucky and there are plenty of other problems that the country is facing as we keep reading in the newspapers but at the international airport in Nigeria, a sign reads ‘welcome to the happiest country on earth’. Ironically, their claim of being the happiest is true and it has been proven by a number of research studies. Why is it so? It’s because of the strong sense of community that prevails in Nigeria. Communities create a lot of happiness like the one we belong to at CFA Institute. So, one of the most important aspects to look at before taking up a job is the culture and the community of the organisation because you must seek happiness in any career you choose, this can come from a dream job but equally, it can be derived from working with great people. At the same time, try to build culture/communities that value people where ever you work, so that people are happy to work with you and freshers feel delighted to join your organisation.
  • From her experience of going through the global financial crisis while being employed at a hedge fund in the USA, she learnt the power of coming back stronger from adversity. Her firm laid off plenty of people and the fund itself lost billions of dollars from being a 40 billion dollar fund at its peak. Regardless of so much global turmoil, the fund today stands at 200 billion dollars. Her observation from her experiences in the US has been that no matter how hard they are hit by adversity such as 9/11 or GFC 2008, the Americans possess tremendous strength to bounce back stronger than ever. Finance is a profession where we need to constantly adapt and come back stronger, plenty of doomsday kind of events have come and gone but the world doesn’t end, does it? Infact, there is a lot of wisdom in the quote she mentioned;

Never waste a great crisis as great companies and great careers are built in a crisis.

  • In the business of investing and wealth management, the devil lies in the details. This business is not won in the plush board rooms rather it is won in the trenches. You also need to know your compliances, operations, marketing along with knowing your investments. The mantra for success in this profession is to build a broadly based skillset. Even if you are a specialist, know the details about other departments as well. With this quote, Radhika conveyed a critical leadership hack;

If you are the leader of a team, do the hardest part yourself

  • Denmark taught her a lesson in Simplicity. Denmark is one of the highest per capita countries in the world but everybody prefers to cycle to reach their destination within the city, no matter how rich they are. In fact, the traffic lights in Denmark are designed in such a way that they equally facilitate pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles but this might not be the case in some other countries where the man with the bigger car supposedly rules the street. So, one must retain a sense of simplicity and humbleness, no matter how big one gets. As AI and technology take over, the art of making things simple is going to be of tremendous value.

Keep yourself simple, keep your business simple and things usually work out

  • In this industry, we are quick to share our successes but we hesitate to talk about our failures but what we don’t realise is that people connect better to our human side which invariably makes mistakes rather than a window-dressed barrage of achievement displayed one after the other.  Every epic/saga has its ups and downs and the same is true for our lives, so acknowledge your mistakes, learn from them and be open about them because that’s what makes us human.
  • To learn more about Radhika’s journey, click [here] for another inspirational talk by her. She sure does practice what she preaches.

 

The networking session
  • This session was quite special as the candidates got an opportunity to clear their doubts and speak their minds on a one to one basis with the senior members of the fraternity present at the conference.
  • Each round table was hosted by one of the speakers at the event. Anybody who wished to have their personal or professional queries answered from them could do so by joining that particular table.
  • The plethora of questions that came to foray showed that besides academics, mentorship is the need of the hour. CFA Institute recognises that as it’s evident from the networking sessions like this one and the overall theme of the conference dedicated to creating awareness amongst their students.

 

Topic 5 – Panel Discussion: Future of work in wealth management

Ashish Kashyap – Founder & CEO, INDwealth.in, Soumya Rajan – Founder, MD & CEO, Waterfield Advisors, Rajendra Kalur – Management Consultant and Board Advisor

  • In a population of 1.25 billion, we have only 16 million active demat accounts, this itself shows how much underpenetration exists in this space and efforts must be made to reach out to more and more people to create awareness but there is a definite shift happening in the investor behaviour here in India in the last couple of years. People are moving away from saving in physical assets to financial assets. As more formalisation, policy changes, regulations, transparency are implemented, this trend change could turn out to be a structural and long-lasting phenomenon.
  • Key drivers for the rapid evolution of the Indian economy going ahead are the favourable demographics, GDP growth, technology adoption, scalable business models. If we continue to grow at a scale that China did since the early 70s, simply by growing at 7% the wealth effect will be immense, creating many more wealthy individuals in the economy.
  • We are at a nascent stage as far as the wealth management in India is concerned. Most of the market is created by institutional players and retail participation in India is much lower compared to the other developed economies. The democratisation of data and information has played a significant role in creating more transparency and investor awareness in recent times.
  • Painful personal experience with the handling of his investments by professionals, realising that there is actually a problem of data science i.e how financial raw data is processed, analysed and interpreted and the need to bring all the aspects of personal finance under one roof were some of the reasons that made Ashish setup INDwealth. In fact, it was the general inefficiencies in the current wealth management industry that were experienced by Soumya and Rajendra during their respective careers that inspired them to set up their own ventures in order to better the process of how we do things.
  • According to Soumya, one should strive to find the best solution for the client no matter where it is rather than recommending a product just because it is part of the approved list which can sometimes be difficult in an institutional setting. Today the industry is changing and clients are looking for good professionals, timely solutions, honesty, integrity and transparency in the way their wealth is managed. We as investment professionals should fundamentally try to stick to these values and try to keep things simple for our clients. Along with intelligence, employers are now looking for professionals who also possess a high EQ which makes them more client oriented.
  • According to Rajendra, we need to be cognizant of the fact that we are handling our client’s life’s savings which he has not only kept aside for himself but for his future generations as well. So, this endeavour deserves and requires expertise, focus and undivided attention from the professionals in the wealth management industry. With the kind of wealth that has been created and will be created in future, building and grooming the right kind of talent pool will be the most critical aspect that the financial industry needs to actively work on. The CFA program lends quite well to these basic fundamental pre-requisites for becoming a wealth management professional as the curriculum lays a lot of stress on upholding high ethical standards and a sense of responsibility towards clients.
  • Professionals aided by technology is the way forward. Use of technology creates time for professionals to work on softer aspects of wealth management such as working with the clients, understanding their needs, handholding them in tough times and so on. Advisory and Distribution, both the models will co-exist in India but we need to make sure there is no conflict of interest when we are recommending financial products to our clients.
  • Click [here] to read more about this session at the CFA Society India’s blog.
Topic 6 – Shaping your career, your own way

Deepak Sawhney – Executive Coach, Story Teller & Founder – Phrenimos
  • In order to understand how to build a career, one must be clear about the definition of a career. A career is much more long term, a job is a way to build a career. One goes through a series of jobs to build a desired career over time.
  • He shows an interesting video where people are stranded on an escalator which has stopped working midway and they sit there waiting for someone to come and fix it. With this video, Deepak wanted to convey the message to the audience that gone are the days when you could just step into an organisation and overtime your career was built by simply working within that organisation. In today’s world, you need to take proactive steps and climb those stairs yourself as the career escalators don’t exist anymore.
  • Some trends which are shaping up that might create career opportunities include blockchain related jobs, rising number of freelancers which is expected to reach 50% of the workforce by 2027 as per a study, ‘gig economy’ is on it’s way up where people with unique talents are hired by organisations for a specific purpose and once the job is done, the person moves onto a next gig. These freelancers are networking amongst themselves which allows them to work together on a project which requires two or more unique skillsets. Generally, when people find answers to problems themselves it motivates them to take action but that might not be the case if the solution comes to them in the form of advice from someone, so you must try to explore these trends on your own to make the most of this opportunity.
  •  The world is changing quite fast, changes that used to take 10-20 years in the past are now happening in 2-3 years. So we need to actively train ourselves to adapt to these changes. That makes training ourselves and continuous learning a must in this day and age. Deepak spends a substantial amount of time and money to keep upgrading his knowledge and advised the audience to dedicate at least 10% of their income each year to this endeavour. Education, as he puts it, is simply having a passport that makes you eligible for a job but a visa i.e proven proficiency in a skillset (like certifications etc) will actually help you land a job of your choosing. So the important question is;

What are the stamps available on your career passport

The thicker your career passport gets in terms of certifications, skills, experiences more it’s going to matter in making your career a success.

  • We live in a ‘VUCA World’  these days where V stands for volatileU stands for uncertaintyC stands for complexity and Astands for ambiguity. It’s important to understand this term because the emergence of new trends and their adoption these days is happening so fast that it’s made the world VUCA. In order to adapt to a VUCA world, first and foremost we need to have a vision of our career i.e what and where do you want to be 4-5 years from now. So, sit back and try to define what success looks like for you one year, three years and five years down the line from a career perspective. While answering that question keep in mind that success should be determined by the amount of value you add to the people associated with you such as your clients, stakeholder etc. rather than simply achieving a higher designation in your organisation.
  • The role of mentors on our lives can’t be stressed enough. Everybody should have at least a minimum of five mentors. Once you have a vision in place, you will need a sounding board and these are those people who have done in the past what you are trying to do now. They know what it takes to be there. Multiple mentors help you get multiple perspectives, each mentor has his own unique strengths which makes the amalgamation of advice much richer. People are limited by their own experiences, so you may need a diversified group of mentors to guide you on your journey. Deepak requested the CFA Society India to initiate some sort of mentorship program where the seasoned professionals from the industry can help mentor the young talent.
  • Besides having a vision, another big question you need to ask yourselves is;

Are you discoverable?

  • If somebody is looking for a person with the skill set that you possess, can they find you? If the answer to that is no, then go out and make yourself discoverable. Meet people, put your profiles online but more importantly build your online presence. A lot of employers these days are looking at your social media profiles such as Facebook, LinkedIn etc. There is something known as the ‘law of weak acquaintances’, it is these people who actually help you land a job. One must strive to build a network of at least a hundred such weak acquaintances with whom you might be just exchanging season’s greetings or a message off and on but they are a part of your life in some way. The way to build this network is to go to a lot of conferences and events where these people come and you should be able to convey to them what you are looking for. Along with mentors, have advisors in your life. These are those people that have connections and can open doors to new and unique opportunities for you.
  • Along with mentors and advisors have coaches as well in your life. A coach helps you think better, coaches help you find answers to your problems and help you get rid of your own limiting beliefs. Deepak ended his talk with this thought-provoking quote;

Everything happens twice

By this, he meant that anything you wish to accomplish has to happen at two levels, once in the mind and then in reality. So, if it doesn’t happen in the mind first, it cant be turned into a reality.

  • Lastly, he shared a great growth/productivity hack that works by simply keeping our resume up-to-date. Once write your detailed resume and then every six months look at that resume and see if you can add anything new to it. If you have nothing to add to your resume in six months time then you are essentially not progressing.

 

Conclusion:

It is commonly said that there is a dearth of ‘skilled’ professionals these days in every field even though there are plenty of educated individuals around. But the irony is that no one is trying to find the reason for this. In my view, if an individual turns out to be unskilled even after passing through our education system then it’s not his/her fault rather it is the fault of the system and the lack of mentorship which has led to this helpless situation.

On the other hand, there are some organisations like the CFA Institute which recognises this problem and with such conferences, they are attempting to address this issue by creating awareness among their candidates about the possibilities that await them. Meeting the senior members from the industry makes it easier for the candidates to envision what their future might look like and what is expected from them as they pursue their journey as a professional. It was heartening to see the senior faculty members share their business cards with the young candidates if they ever needed help or guidance in the future. It is this level of openness and mentorship which will help create skilled individuals of the future and not the mindless rote memorization of textbooks that has become the norm at most colleges these days.

Right piece of advice at the right time has the power to change the trajectory of one’s career & life

 

A big thank you to all the speakers, volunteers and CFA Society India for organising such a high-quality event, both in terms of rich-content and meticulous arrangements. Cheers!

(This write-up was originally published on -https://www.investorsingh.com/2nd-financial-talent-summit-fts2-cfa-society-india-highlights-and-learnings/)

 

 

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